Tulowitzki makes solid first impression in Toronto
Newest Blue Jays star embraces move from cellar-dweller to contender
TORONTO — Troy Tulowitzki is recovering from the shock of being traded, but he’s ready to start winning.
The Blue Jays’ newly acquired shortstop made it clear he’s ready to get down to work after Tuesday’s blockbuster deal that sent him and reliever LaTroy Hawkins from the Colorado Rockies to Toronto in exchange for shortstop Jose Reyes, reliever Miguel Castro and minor-league pitchers Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco.
Tulowitzki, who played his entire 10year career in Colorado, had long heard rumours about being traded but expected Rockies ownership to tell him if he was going to be moved.
“To be with a different organization now is shocking,” Tulowitzki said Wednesday afternoon, prior to taking the field for the first time at Rogers Centre. “At the same time, I’m looking forward to the future because I see a winning team, a winning culture. I know they haven’t won a World Series here in a while, so to be a part of something like that would be memorable.
“I think that’s what you play this game for, to win. I think there’s a great possibility here that that could happen and very soon.”
Tulowitzki said the little things of being in the Jays organization stuck out to him.
“I’m still shocked when I walk in to a clubhouse and it’s not purple, it’s different for me,” he said, adding his family put him at ease about the move. “I think as games go on and I get some games under my belt and I meet these guys, go on a road trip, win some games, I think I’ll feel more comfortable.
“I think it’s something I’m not going to be able to force, it’s just going to have to come whenever it does.”
Tulowitzki made his Blue Jays debut Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Hawkins debuted Tuesday in a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia, pitching a scoreless inning of relief.
The pair from Colorado are moving from a Rockies team (43-56) that is in last in the National League West, to Toronto (51-51), which is in the hunt for a wild-card spot in the American League and could possibly catch the New York Yankees for top spot in the AL East.
“Now to wake up and know these games are very meaningful, every time you win a series it means something in the standings, I think that will bring me back to my younger days when you wake up and all you were worried about was winning,” said Tulowitzki. “When you’re worried about winning and playing the game that right way, you usually play better yourself.”
Tulowitzki is a career .299 hitter with 188 home runs and 657 runs batted in. With the Rockies this season he hit .300 with 12 homers and 53 RBI in 87 games.
“He’s a guy that comes in, maybe gives us a big jolt,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “I don’t think you can expect him to come in and save the day. He’s in new surroundings, you never know how long it takes a guy to get comfortable.
“But, he’s a pretty damn good player and I think he’s really going to help us.”
Normally a mid-order hitter, Tulowitzki took Reyes’s spot as the leadoff man, at least for his first game.
“As long as I’m playing, I’ll be happy,” said Tulowitzki. “Wherever I hit, it really doesn’t matter. Let’s be honest here, if it becomes a problem that we have so many middle-of-the-order hitters I think it’s a good problem that we’d all like to have.”
‘I’m still shocked when I walk in to a clubhouse and it’s not purple, it’s different for me’